Former Senate GOP Intern Arrested For Alleged Felony Obstruction On Jan. 6


An individual identified in media reporting as a past organizer for the 2018 campaign for governor of Republican Ron DeSantis — who eventually won that year and has since secured an unfolding second term as the chief executive of Florida — has been arrested on felony and misdemeanor accusations for allegedly participating in the 2021 Capitol riot. The defendant is named Barbara Balmaseda, and her new criminal charges get as steep as obstruction of an official proceeding.

Reporting from the Miami New Times tying Balmaseda to a past iteration of the DeSantis campaign also said she was once an intern for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). She was also identified, again by the same source, as a past campaign manager for eventual southern Florida state Senator Ileana Garcia, who narrowly prevailed in a 2020 campaign (in which Balmaseda was reportedly involved) after a so-called ghost candidate joined the contest.

This figure had the same last name as the Democratic contender and did not actually campaign, setting up the appearance they were meant just as a vote-getter to drag down the Democrat. The “ghost candidate” received bribe money from a former GOP legislator for the sham campaign.

Balmaseda is accused by federal authorities of actually entering the Capitol building on the day of the attack, joining a subset of defendants upon whom prosecutors have focused. (Prosecutors have also focused on individuals accused of assaulting police, isolating both these groups from the broader crowds descending on the Capitol that day.) “Prior to her arrival in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5, 2021, Balmaseda exchanged messages with several associates in which she participated in communications reflecting her belief that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen and her knowledge about the certification process scheduled to take place on Jan. 6, 2021,” a Justice Department press release alleges. These claims, if upheld, would be crucial to proving intent on Balmaseda’s part.

Similarly, the federal release says she entered the Capitol to broken glass on the ground and a blaring alarm — details that could be used similarly in potentially proving the case of Balmaseda’s alleged misconduct. She’s 23.